Lawmakers Want First Saturday in December for Presidential, Legislative Elections

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The Joint committee is chaired by Sen. Varney Sherman.

The joint committee of the Senate on Judiciary, Human Rights, Claims and Petitions, and Autonomous Commissions has recommended the amendment of Article 93 (a) of the Constitution to provide that elections for the President, Vice President, members of the Senate and Representatives be held on the first Saturday in December of each election year.

Article 93 (a): “The limitation of the Presidential term of office to two terms, each of six years duration, may be subject to amendment; provided that the amendment shall not become effective during the term of office of the incumbent President.”

The Joint committee chaired by Grand Cape Mount County Senator Varney Sherman further recommended that Article 83 (b) of the Constitution of Liberia, “which was once amended be further amended to provide that the second ballot for elections of President, if necessary, shall be conducted on the first Saturday, after the announcement of results from the first round of elections.”

Article 83 (a): “All elections of public officers shall be determined by an absolute majority of the votes cast. If no candidate obtains an absolute majority in the first ballot, a second ballot shall be conducted on the second Tuesday following. The two candidates who received the greatest numbers of votes on the first ballot shall be designated to participate in the run off election, while the joint Committee is also recommending that the second paragraph of Article 83 (c) of the Constitution should be amended to lessen the time for the filing and disposition of electoral complaints from 30 days to 15.

Article 83 (c) says: “The returns of the elections shall be declared by the Elections Commission not later than fifteen days after the casting of ballots. Any party or candidate who complains about the manner in which the elections were conducted or who challenges the results thereof shall have the right to file a complaint with the Elections Commission… Such complaint must be filed not later than seven days after the announcement of the results of the elections.

The Elections Commission shall, within 30 days of receipt of the complaint, conduct an impartial investigation and render a decision which may involve a dismissal of the complaint or a nullification of the election of a candidate. Any political party or independent candidate affected by such decision shall not later than seven days appeal against it to the Supreme Court.

The Elections Commission shall within seven days of receipt of the notice of appeal, forward all the records in the case to the Supreme Court, which not later than seven days thereafter, shall hear and make its determination. If the Supreme Court nullifies or sustains the nullification of the election of any candidate, for whatever reasons, the Elections commission shall within 60 days of the decision of the Court conduct new elections to fill the vacancy. If the court sustains the election of a candidate, the Elections Commission shall act to effectuate the mandate of the Court.”

“The committee proposes for consideration of the plenary that if these proposed amendments to the Constitution are approved by this plenary, it should be returned to the joint committee for the final language of the law, which will be finally voted upon by plenary, before submission to the House of Representatives, for its concurrence and onward submission to the people of Liberia for referendum to amend the Constitution,” the joint committee report said.

Earlier, Senator Sherman contested that since the report was already circulated among all the 30 Senators “it now requires a debate and adoption; that there is no need to have read it before we debate it. So I move, Sir, that we dispense of the reading of the report and proceed with the debate and adoption. ”

The Senate plenary however, accepted the report but set the debate to another sitting to determine the next course of action.

8 COMMENTS

  1. The Elections Commission shall within seven days of receipt of the notice of appeal, forward all the records in the case to the Supreme Court, which not later than seven days thereafter, shall hear and make its determination. If the Supreme Court nullifies or sustains the nullification of the election of any candidate, for whatever reasons, the Elections commission shall within 60 days of the decision of the Court conduct new elections to fill the vacancy. If the court sustains the election of a candidate, the Elections Commission shall act to effectuate the mandate of the Court.”

    Just change or remove the phrase “…for whatever reasons,” in the second sentence of the above paragraph and this amendment will be good to go. A constitution like the Supreme Court ought to be unambiguous, definitive and above all, reassuring. Not speculative, dicey and at the whim of anybody as is inherent in this phrase. That’s all for now.

  2. You guys did not say nothing concerning about 9 year for you senators and 6 year for president, those years really need to be reduced.

  3. I believe that these amendment should include the reduction of president terms from 6-4years and Senators from 9-6 ,and representatives from 6-3 years. This is the only way we will try to rebuild Liberia.

  4. Saturday, the 6th day of the week is a good pick. Most employees are usually off from their jobs on the 6th day of the week. Come election day, most Liberians will go to polls to vote. So this move on the part of the lawmakers is a credit. They deserve it this time around.

    However, there are a few important issues that elude the Liberian lawmakers. No one on earth knows why the good men and women of the Liberian National Assembly cannot tell the Liberian people the following:
    (1) Why is it that Liberia does not use coins,

    (2) Why is it that Liberia does not have a minimum wage law and finally,

    (3) How many hours constitute a full day’s work?

  5. Ernest Johnson,
    I think your proposal that calls for limiting the number of years all Presidents as well as the legislators should serve in office is a touchdown. I will give you 10 points on your next exam.
    I go a step further by saying that there should be a presidential term limit. For instance, the country of South Korea has a presidential term-limt of 5 years. That’s it!
    So after a president has served his or her 5 years, it’s all over.

    Also in the state of Virginia, an elected governor serves in office a 4-year term. I know deep down in my soul that Liberian politicians will consider this a killer idea. But, it’s doable.
    But one thing clear: The Saturday pick for elections to be held was not ignoble. Let’s give them a 50% credit this time.

    • Henry,
      Thanks for my grade, i think we should take these proposal to the people, take for example a president will do better in office if he or she knows that they only have 5 years in office and these senators will even do better if they have limited terms to serve. i don’t know about you, but i know in the seventies, people (Liberians ) felt that Tubman and Tolbert stay in office for too long-so why than a senator can stay in office , 9,18,27,and 36 years, and we Liberians sit down and accept this kind of corrupt actions, we need to revisit our constitution, and let the chairman of the Judicial Committee, Senator Varney Sherman know that these proposal should be part of his amendment process. Another corrupt practice in the country is the chairman of the governing party sending hundreds of names to various ministry to replace qualified people. I believe that any political party that win an election, should go through the Civil Service Agency to get the most qualified person to do the Liberian people jobs, not an unqualified person who only job is to get handout because he or she was part of the campaign.

  6. I think it is time for the issue of superintendent, commissioners, town chief, city majors elections be discussed too. Appointing these people is not helping the country and it is denying the citizens in those places the right to exercise the right in electing those who should rule over them.

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